THE BLOG

Lead From Within: Creating Refuge and Change

08/08/2013 03:21 pm ET | Updated Oct 08, 2013

Last week in this space, I talked about the stress that is wreaking havoc with our well-being, and asked "Is Your Heart in the Right Place?" As we take the second step on the journey of heart-based leadership, let's broaden the perspective.

There is a serious disconnect between our leaders and the people.

There is a great divide between governance and the dehumanizing systems we have implemented.

There is a big bubble between our investments and the global economy. The disappearance of trillions of dollars worldwide since fall 2008 has caused a substantial restructuring, and few organizations have been spared.

The stress that results from these disconnects, gaps and divides takes a toll on us all. The fear of a lost job or business failure is pervasive. The distress that the economy is not bouncing back is alarming. The repercussions of a speculative global economy are demoralizing on an international scale.

Never mind trying to thrive -- how do we even survive?

As everything on the outside gets faster, scarier and more demanding, I urge you to take refuge on the inside for clarity, concentration and coherence.

If you lead from within and implement the principles of heart-based leadership, you will experience a personal and professional transformation that rises above the stress and frustration.

A client told me recently, "One of the biggest lessons I've learned from heart-based leadership is that I can stay present in the moment. I used to multitask like crazy to get things done. I thought I was being a very effective leader, but the truth is I was doing a little bit of everything and none of it well. When I am present in the moment, I find I am accomplishing more in less time."

We all have the capacity to do great things in the world. Heart-based leadership frees you to achieve that greatness by fostering awareness of your own inner compass, allowing it to guide your response to the constant change.

It unblocks you to focus on the important realities, the things that really matter to you and to those around you -- whether they're employees, customers, and stockholders, or your family, friends and personal associates.

Heart-based leaders are explicit in their communication and their decisions are characterized by integrity, honesty and courage. They inspire others to be their best and lead them beyond expectations.

It all begins with a few basic principles:

Be present. Make it a practice to stay in the moment, realizing that the past no longer exists and the future is not something to be anxious about.

Be aware. As you regard what's happening right now, be aware of your internal and external environment. What emotions do you feel? What are those around you thinking?

Be compassionate. When you bring compassion to your leadership, your life becomes more caring. It makes a difference.

Be authentic. Be true to who you are no matter what. Align with your highest values so you can effectively lead others by example.

Be focused. Concentrate on what is important in a given moment. Remember the present is all that matters.

Be composed. Be calm and clear on what is important, what needs to be done, and how it will be done.

Be tranquil. To stay calm in a time of adversity means not reacting to everything that comes at you. To be tranquil is to stay serene. Reactions do not help situations. Actions do.

Be grateful. Literally fill yourself with gratitude so there is no room for stress. You cannot simultaneously hold gratitude and stress, positivity and negativity, freedom and anxiety.

My goal through this weekly column is to help you experience less stress and greater fulfillment. Less anxiety and more serenity. Less confusion and more clarity.

As leaders in a fast-paced world, we need to learn the skills and principles that will make us successful in the next decade and beyond.

Being a heart-based leader helps us run our businesses better, creating little pockets of change that can grow and merge into a powerful force within the world.
It increases our productivity, our effectiveness, and our connections with those around us. It transforms us into agile and resilient leaders, masters of creating and guiding high-performing, sustainable organizations.

By living the principles of leadership from within, you will be able to successfully lead your organization, your teams, and everything within your sphere of influence in competing effectively today and successfully positioning for tomorrow.